House of Crom – Threshold of Divinity
[Note: this post was getting a bit long and unwieldy, so I divided it into two parts. This part contains everything except the boss encounters, whereas the boss encounters will be the subject of a separate post.]
This is the social part of House of Crom, meaning that you don’t get a separate instance of each group; it’s more like a small playfield in which there can be several groups (or raids or solo players, not that the latter can do much by themselves).
There’s much that I don’t yet know about this dungeon, so hopefully I’ll update this post later if/when I get more information.
It’s a fairly large dungeon, but not really that complicated once you get used to it. See the map below:
Entrance: The main entrance to it is from the northern edge of Field of the Dead, in the old ruins where you did the Death to the Vanir quest chain in your mid-40s. You can also enter it from the Vile Nativity group dungeon.
Quests: You should definitely pick up a quest from Bhaltair in the Field of the Dead (in the camp near the exits to Conall’s Valley and Lacheish Plains). This quest will require you to speak to a couple of Cimmerian NPCs inside the dungeon, and completing it will allow you to use the “Dark Hallway” doors to go directly from the entrance to the supply room (see the map above). This is very handy if you want to join a group that is already somewhere deep inside the dungeon. If you can’t use the Dark Hallway, you’d have to run a fairly long distance through many mobs, and squishy classes very probably wouldn’t make it alive, so the rest of your group would have to come escort you from the entrance.
You can also pick up a quest called “The Stygian Scholar” from Ankh-Ausar, the Stygian antiquarian who stands in Khemi near the Khitai and Turan travel NPCs. You might remember him from the scrolls quest in Ai and T’ian’an district (in fact some people have reported that you can’t take his quest for the Threshold of Divinity unless you have previously completed the Ai/T’ian’an scrolls quest). Now he has a quest for you to read various Atlantean inscriptions in the Threshold of Divinity, with 3 expertise points as a reward. It appears that unless you take this quest, some of the inscriptions in the Threshold of Divinity (namely the ones required by this quest) will remain unreadable to you no matter how many Fragments of Atlantean you consume.
There are several more quests that you can pick up from NPCs inside the Threshold of Divinity, most of which are repeatable and don’t give any special rewards. A few of them are actually quests for the Vile Nativity.
Common and rare bosses
Many bosses in this dungeon exist in a “common” and “rare” form. Some people call them “normal” and “hardmode”, and indeed the rare form will have the same green hardmode buff that you can see in e.g. Khitai hardmodes; but since in all other respects each rare boss encounter is exactly the same as the corresponding common boss encounter, I’ll refer to them as common and rare instead of as normal and hardmode.
Thus, a common boss and his rare counterpart differ only in name and in the loot. Generally, each common boss drops a Rare Trophy (for each player), plus an Excavator’s Kit and a piece of blue gear to roll on. (The blue gear that drops here is part of the same sets that also drop in the Vile Nativity; in fact, if you want to get a complete set, you’ll need parts from both dungeons.) They also have a small chance to drop a Skull (to spawn the Cross Road King, see below) and/or a Fragment of Atlantean (for which also see below). (Note: if you’re in a raid of more than 6 people, as opposed to a group, the rare relics will generally not drop.)
Each rare boss drops the same things as the common boss, plus an extra Rare Trophy and Vessel of Attainment (75k AA xp) for each player, as well as another Rare Trophy to roll on. He also always drops a Fragment of Atlantean (whereas for a common boss there’s only a small chance that he’ll drop one).
Two exceptions to this scheme are Narvi and the Cross Road King; see below for more about their loot.
It also seems that rare bosses might occasionally drop an additional blue item:
- Myk-ra the Apex Alchemist can drop Alchemist’s Pendant (necklace: 34 hit rtg, 40 immunity rtg, 55 crit dmg rtg, 380 combat rtg (fire));
- Hierophant Syth-los can drop Ring of the Hierophant (220 mana, 75 magic dmg (holy), 48 hit rtg, 38 crit rtg, vengeful revenge);
- Hierophant Syth-los can drop Ring of Conservation (122 armor, 50 con, 40 evade rtg, 40 immunity rtg);
- Xan-Phon the Master Artificer can drop Ring of Scalding (9 nat mana regen, 75 magic dmg (fire), 49 hit rtg, 35 crit rtg, scalding revenge);
- Xan-Phon the Master Artificer can drop Bolts of Conflagration (44 hit rtg, 48 fat rtg, 35 crit dmg rtg, 415 combat rtg (fire), flaring strike);
- Narvi the Opener of Hideous Doors can drop Square Shield of the Ziggurat (692 armor, 50 con, 36 hit rtg, 26 hate inc rtg, 35 health tap rtg);
- Shryke the Storm-Shrieker can drop Ring of Grounding (151 armor, 26 con, 411 combat rtg (electrical));
- Shryke the Storm-Shrieker can drop Storm-Shrieker Pendant (40 con, 76 magic dmg (electrical), 31 hit rtg);
- Jotunrodull Lord of Black Ice can drop Ymirish Frostband (ring: 10.5 nat mana regen, 76 magic dmg (cold), 48 hit rtg, 48 fat rtg, icy revenge);
- Jotunrodull Lord of Black Ice can drop Froststrike (ring: 35 crit rtg, 50 offhand rtg, 400 combat rtg (cold)).
Funcom’s itemization skills at their finest. Beautiful-looking ring, unique model, but stats that ensure that nobody will want to wear it. Only necros do cold damage, and they won’t like this ring as it won’t do anything for their unholy damage.
Since it’s a social dungeon, mobs (trash as well as bosses) respawn after a few minutes, so in principle it can be a good place to farm rare trophies and AA xp, especially as it can be done well enough with a weak group. But the fact is that if you’re with a good group, you’ll probably get more rares and AA per time by going to the Vile Nativity than by doing the Threshold of Divinity.
I’ve heard various rumours and theories about how to spawn a rare boss (as opposed to a common one). For now, my impression is still that it’s simply a matter of random chance, just like for rare bosses in Onyx Chambers. When you kill a boss, there’s a small chance that when he respawns for the next time, he’ll be in the rare form instead of the common form.
As mentioned above, bosses can drop a green generic item called Fragment of Atlantean. Clicking it in your inventory will consume it and increase your knowledge of the Atlantean language. This enables you to read the Atlantean inscriptions on the walls of the dungeon (a few of them are also in the Vile Nativity). Different inscriptions have different requirements (i.e. how many fragments you need to have consumed to be able to read them).
Some of the inscriptions merely contain background story information about the origins of the House of Crom; others perhaps contain hints and clues regarding the “secrets” of the dungeon (on which more below). You will also need to read some of these inscriptions if you want to complete Ankh-Ausar’s quest for 3 expertise points (mentioned above).
The Fragments of Atlantean are not bind-on-pickup, so you can move them between characters or even buy/sell them on the tradepost.
Apparently, after consuming 8 fragments, the game tells you that you can’t consume any more of them; but at the same time some people have reported that some of the inscriptions remain undecipherable to them. It seems that to read those remaining inscriptions, you need to have taken Ankh-Ausar’s quest for the Threshold of Divinity (“The Stygian Scholar”). [Update: apparently this has later been fixed and the inscriptions can be read without having Ankh-Ausar's quest.]
There has also been a rumor that blue Fragments of Atlantean might also exist (in addition to the green ones), but I think that’s a result of confusion between Fragments of Atlantean and the Keystone Fragments (on which more below). I haven’t seen any concrete evidence of any such blue Fragments of Atlantean so far.
The Secrets of the Dungeon
The article published by Funcom at the release of House of Crom hints that there are brand-new epic weapons available in the dungeon (which nobody has found so far, AFAIK), and that some of the challenges in it require the coordination between multiple groups (and again AFAIK nobody has yet found anything useful in that direction). So if these things really exist and work as intended, it means there is a fair bit that remains to be discovered about the dungeon.
Unfortunately I don’t have any particularly useful insights about these questions; the most I can do for now is to try to recapitulate the various speculations that I’ve heard of so far. I recommend you to visit this thread on the EU forum for much interesting information, although, as is usually the case with such things, speculation is running wild, as is the occasional bit of disinformation and disagreeable attempts at secrecy.
Of course, this being Funcom, it’s entirely possible that some of the mechanics involved are hopelessly bugged, or that they are simply too hard to figure out (it’s difficult enough to find 6 people willing to experiment and tinker with things rather than just farm what they already know; finding multiple groups, if that’s what the dungeon requires, may well be impossible). The fiasco involving the Desumo hardmode in the Iron Tower is a salutary example; it remained bugged and/or undiscovered for long after the loot which it drops ceased to be attractive (and the devs all this time doing nothing about it, not even dropping any additional hints or clues to help the players figure it out — apparently they don’t care if a bit of their content goes completely unused by anyone), and is still unreasonably difficult to do now.
Some concrete open questions involving the Threshold of Divinity are:
- Is there a way to reliably trigger rare versions of bosses?
- What’s the use of the Keystone Fragments which drop from Narvi, and what is the role of the portal behind him?
- The inscriptions in Syth-Los’s room speak about four verses, but only three are currently known; what’s the fourth one? And what’s the role of the emotes hinted at by those inscriptions?
We know from the various bits of lore that you learn in the House of Crom that Queen Cao-Polyphya had the Atlanteans build a ziggurat and ascended it, hoping to communicate with their god Valka, but instead ended up getting tentacle-raped by the Threshold Lurker, a Lovecraft-style eldritch abomination; the Little Prince, the last boss in the Vile Nativity, is the lovely offspring of their union, and the fact that the Atlanteans in the House of Crom are sort of frozen in time, leading a ghostly existence, may be in fact a favor bestowed on them by the Threshold Lurker. Now, as we can see there is a ziggurat behind Rune-Caster Narvi in the Threshold of Divinity, with a portal at the top and a staircase leading to it, it’s hardly surprising that people speculate that we might be able to use the portal and perhaps meet the Threshold Lurker ourselves that way. Whether this is actually the case I have no idea, and as far as I know nobody has yet succeeded in figuring this out.
Rune-Caster Narvi has a chance of dropping a green item called Faded Keystone Fragment. If you have such a fragment in your inventory during the Alchemist Myk-ra encounter, and get hit by his Transmute spell, the fragment gets changed into a blue item called Energized Keystone Fragment. Both kinds of fragments are tradable.
Apparently, the fragments can be combined with some other items by using the forge in the Artificer Xan-Phon encounter to obtain some kind of key, which can then be used in the portal back at Narvi’s place. AFAIK nobody has reported getting any further than that so far. See the above-mentioned forum thread, in particular this post and also this post with a link to the inscription that hints at the list of ingredients required. I unfortunately don’t know the details of these things myself.
As mentioned above, there are numerous clickable inscriptions in the House of Crom, many of which you can read once you have consumed enough Fragments of Atlantean. I’ll try to gather the texts of the inscriptions in this section. For now, some of them are missing because I haven’t consumed enough fragments yet. At the end of each inscription there’s a note about its location and approximate coordinates.
The island nation, my love — you surrendered to the sea — land of ancients. I lost my heart. Craven lost souls of the deep, buried in the bellies of gulls. Waiting for the sun to surrended to the sky — the sky to surrended to the stars — the stars to surrended to the dark. Eternal peace at last. [Supply room; 450, 515]
There is wrong done with the knife,
with the stone and the flame,
with the wave and the quake,
with the famine and the fear,
with the plage and the calamity.
There is wrong done to us!
And though the gods smile,
there are those of us left
who will not let wrongs go unseen.
[Artificer Xan-Phon's room; 435, 584.]
There is a celestial operation of maximum importance.
The bloody birth pangs of a screaming new aeon.
When it becomes necessary to utter a Word.
The whole planet was bathed in death.
There is wrong done to us!
The gods must see us!
The gods must weep!
[Artificer Xan-Phon's room; 408, 592.]
When it becomes necessary to utter a Word,
When the fire blazes with star lust,
When Valka’s tears shine,
Then we must offer our metal
And four measures of the dust of crystals
And the blue blood of the earth,
And the Eye of Heaven shall be accomplished.
Dare you to open it? Dare you to see
The terrifying vistas of divine love?
[Artificer Xan-Phon's room; 401, 579.]
Kull the foundling. We took him in. Kull the heathen. We cast him out. Kull the exile of Atlantis. Kull, who surpassed all men, experienced all emotions, and carved his trials on stone tablets. Kull, who we shall not forgive. Kull was king of Velusia when the Snakes Who Walk came. Very nearly did they take the world in creeping coils. Kull cast them out. They fled to the south, into caves, into hiding. In hiding they remain today. They walk amongst us still. They wear our faces, and you shall not know them save by these words: KA NAMA KAA LAJERAMA. [Hero Plateau; 439, 487.]
The visage of demons sets us to trembling. The visage of the phoenix sets demons to trembling. [Hero Stair Terasse; 429, 518.]
The treasures of the phoenix were scattered long ago. Still they abide in hidden places. [Hero Stairs Patio; 349, 445.]
The island nation, my love — you surrendered to the sea — land of ancients. I lost my heart. Craven lost souls of the deep, burried in the bellies of gulls. Waiting fo rthe sun to surrender to the sky — the sky to surrender to the stars — the stars to surrended to the dark. Eternal peace at last. [Hero Stairs Patio; 338, 439.]
The Queen ascended the stairs alone and descended the stairs radiant with immaculate child, and she spoke: “Valka’s voice comes in the form of iridescent spheres. The spheres! The spheres! They froth and bubble with the wisdom that flows as thick and sweet as glowing honey.” [Jotunrodull's room; 439, 295.
The Picts harry us. Strange ape-men swarm us. We change. We lose our metal to stone. We lose our art to savagery. We lose ourselves. Neither man nor woman is the most tragic death. Our culture is dying. Valka! Our memory is dying. [Next to the portal atop the ziggurat above Narvi's room; 522, 489.]
The Shining Trapezohedron, the anti-pyramid, the smoking mirror, the window to beyond. It was found in the cities-before-cities. It was lost by the Snakes Who Walk. It was lost by the Lemurians. It was lost by the Atlanteans. Always lost. Always found. It waits with the patience of a Crawling Chaos. [The Ledge of the Scholars; 629, 383.]
The Ledge of the Scholars also contains four tablets called Atlantean Scriptures:
He knows the gate. He is the gate. He is the key and guardian of the gate. [The Ledge of the Scholars; 622, 397.]
He is the Lurker at the Threshold, and his computation is eight, and twenty, and four hundred. [The Ledge of the Scholars; 603, 406.]
Not in the spaces we know, but between them, they walk serene and primal, undimensioned and to us unseen. [The Ledge of the Scholars; 590, 402.]
Ia, Old One! Ia, Faceless One! Ia, he whose name is The Abnormal Ones Are Coming! Ia! Ia! [The Ledge of the Scholars; 587, 387.]
There are four inscriptions in Priest Syth-Los’s room:
When you speak the first verse, acknowledge the stars, and pray they acknowledge not you. [Priest Syth-Los's room; 494, 541.]
When you speak the second verse, tickle the horizon, that it might shiver open to the beyond. [Priest Syth-Los's room; 508, 542.]
When you speak the third verse, play the drum of your breast, lest your heart forget to beat. [Priest Syth-Los's room; 508, 507.]
When you speak the fourth verse, invite the Lurker, that he might part the curtain of reality. [Priest Syth-Los's room; 495, 509.]
Evil luck the day the City sank. Evil luck attend the Picts. Evil luck the day we left our families to build this house. Evil luck the night the Queen descended the steps. Evil luck to the change in her eyes. Evil luck to the handmaiden’s whispered secret. Evil luck to the handmaiden’s whispered secret. Evil luck to our ignorant toil. Evil luck attend me for remaining silent. Evil luck attend the Little Prince. Evil luck tonight, as I carve these secret letters. Evil luck and a red doom. Evil luck to us all. [Shryke's room; 357, 391.]
Inscriptions in the Vile Nativity
There are also a few inscriptions in the group dungeon part of House of Crom:
Boiling oceans. Quaking earth. Screaming volcanoes. Kamelia, Valusia, Verulia, Grondar, Thule, and Commoria are dead. We stand atop their graves, bleeding out. [Queen Cao-Polyphya's room; 673, 441.]
The Picts harry us. Strange ape-men swarm us. We change. We lose our metal to stone. We lose our art to savagery. We lose ourselves. Neither man nor woman is the most tragic death. Our culture is dying. Valka! Our memory is dying. [Queen Cao-Polyphya's room; 695, 449.]
Evil luck the day the City sank. Evil luck attend the Picts. Evil luck the day we left our families to build this house. Evil luck the night the Queen descended the steps. Evil luck to the change in her eyes. Evil luck to the handmaiden’s whispered secret. Evil luck to our ignorant toil. Evil luck attend me for remaining silent. Evil luck attend the Little Prince. Evil luck tonight, as I carve these secret letters. Evil luck and a red doom. Evil luck to us all. [In the room between the rez pad and the Queen's room; 667, 334.]
Valka, to thee do we cry for banished children of Atlantis. To thee do we sigh, mourning and weeping in this salty ocean of tears. [Overseer Olik's room; 532, 370.]
Our gods will appear. Our gods must appear. Our Queen is gravid with divinity. [Overseer Olik's room; 595, 393.]
The Queen ascended the stairs alone and descended the stairs radiant with immaculate child, and she spoke: “Valka’s voice comes in the form of iridescent spheres. The spheres! The spheres! They froth and bubble with the wisdom that flows as thick and sweet as glowing honey.” [The Antechamber (room with five pads); 479, 321.]